A team of astronomers has found faint visible “echoes” of three ancient supernovae by detecting centuries-old light reflected by interstellar gas clouds hundreds of light-years removed from the original explosions.
P. Marenfeld and NOAO/AURA/NSF
This artist’s concept portrays the appearance of a “light echo” from a supernova that exploded in the nearby galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), as seen from Earth more than two centuries after the original explosion. The echo is only part of a ring, because to be seen it must intersect with existing clouds of interstellar dust far from the explosion, which are not spaced equally within the large volume that the supernova light continues to expand into. Located 160,000 light-years distant in the southern constellation Dorado, the LMC is considered the closest large galaxy to Earth.
P. Marenfeld and NOAO/AURA/NSF
This graphic shows a schematic of the geometry of the light path that creates a supernova light echo, shown as if the process could be viewed from the side. An echo occurs when the Earth is at one foci of an imaginary ellipse and the supernova remnant is at the other, with dust clouds that happen to be located at the surface of the resulting ellipse. When the light from the supernova reaches these dust clouds, it is reflected toward an observer located at Earth. To this observer, the reflection appears as an arc; this arc would be a full, circular slice through the ellipse (as viewed from Earth) if dust were equally distributed around the full volume of space that that the supernova light is traveling through.
Located in a nearby galaxy in the southern skies, the three exploding stars flashed into short-lived brilliance at least two centuries ago, and probably longer. The oldest is likely to have occurred more than 600 years ago.
Just as a sound echo can occur when sound waves bounce off a distant surface and reflect back toward the listener, a light echo can be seen when light waves traveling through space are reflected back toward the viewer.
Anne Stark | EurekAlert!
Midwife and signpost for photons
11.12.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile
11.12.2017 | University of Birmingham
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
11.12.2017 | Information Technology